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Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008 at 6:32 am

Would You Buy the Cow?

By Jeff Sexton
August 26th, 2008

cash cow

If you’re highly optimized website ranked at or near the top for your primary key words/phrases, would you be interested in advertising (via PPC) on those same keywords?

Sounds like a crazy question, right? I mean why would you bother paying for a click that would have come to you anyway?

Well, according to this Microsoft adCenter follow up blog post to the SES San Jose conference, showing up in both organic AND paid results can highten your prospect’s intent to buy your product. In other words, the two “channels” can work together to provide better results than either alone. In fact, you can increase brand association by 16% if the top search ad and the top organic listing are from the same brand.

What do you think? Would you be willing to buy the PPC cow if you were already drinking the free milk of organic search results?

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Comments (6)

  1. Thanks Jeff, very interesting indeed!

    It reminds me of what Avinash has been saying for a while, which is very data oriented: Measure Cannibalization Rate (vs. Organic).

    He proposes a way to measure how much and where should you use both based on your Web Analytics data.

  2. Forget brand awareness.

    I ran a month-long test about 2 years ago for a group of related terms that showed up between 1 and 3rd positions in organic results. The same terms also had PPC results in the same positions. For one month, I paused bidding on those terms. The results of the test were conclusive: upon shutting off the paid terms, I saw no change in organic click-throughs on those same terms. That means that by shutting off the paid terms, I was loosing incremental sales. Once I turned the paid terms back on, I had regained the same volume within about a week and so no decrease in organic traffic from those terms.

  3. I would buy the cow and keep the natural results if possible. I do this now and find that lots of people just like to click on the sponsored results.

  4. Given the above, isn’t it remarkable that just a few years ago sponsored ads were considered by the average surfing Joe to be a bad thing? People were trying to identify which listings were sponsored so they could NOT click on them.

    Now, for some market segments apparently, there are whole groups of visitors who click ONLY on the sponsored listings.

    This business is fun because things are always changing, including the all-important end user behaviors. Never depend on the way it is now!

  5. You’re absolutely right Chris. I have noticed this development too and I think PPC ads will get far more clicks in the future in comparison to current ratios. Consumers have noticed an increase in quality of the ads and will therefore click more ads.

  6. [...] Grok asks, Would you pay to achieve high PPC rankings if you already rank well organically? Good question. [...]

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Jeff is a Persuasion Architect, Web copywriter, blogger, and instructor of FutureNow's Persuasive Online Copywriting workshop. Follow Jeff Sexton on twitter

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